Holy Family

Holy Family

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Feast of Pope Saint Leo the Great

Good morning. As a marriage and family therapist I deal daily with human suffering, suffering which goes beyond the realm of what most of us typically perceive to be suffering. Most of us when thinking of suffering look to illness or physical frailness or pain. But the suffering that comes through the door of my office is not usually of a physical nature, but rather of an emotional or spiritual nature. Many couples come to me suffering from a sense of loneliness and uncertainty, a loneliness that comes from a felt absence of love or even more so confusion over what it means to love. This confusion is fueled by a culture that has little to no tolerance for human suffering or discomfort. The world we live in is not unlike that of the Pharisees of Jesus’ time, it is misguided regarding what it means to love. Jesus, in today’s Gospel passage, offers us some insight into where to find love, but as with the Pharisees His message goes unheard. He attempts to explain to the Pharisees that love is about the kingdom of God and that this kingdom “cannot be observed” but it must sought within us. For the Pharisees as with many in today’s world the kingdom is about worldly comfort and freedom from suffering. It is not a ‘Magic Kingdom’, but rather it is found in the cross, the cross of salvation. Jesus assures us that the kingdom is within each one of us but that it requires suffering, and reaching out beyond ourselves—even taking upon ourselves the pain and sufferings of others. As Blessed John Paul II notes in his Apostolic Letter, Salvifici Doloris (Salvific Meaning of Suffering),”… to share in the sufferings of Christ is…to suffer for the Kingdom of God. In the eyes of the just God, before his judgment, those who share in the suffering of Christ become worthy of this Kingdom.” This is what it truly means to love, to make known the kingdom through living a life of love. In the words of Saint Colette, “If there be a true way that leads to the Everlasting Kingdom, it is most certainly that of suffering, patiently endured.” To live a life of self giving and to share in the sufferings of others is to make known the kingdom—Thy Kingdom come. Make a great day!

Today we recall the good life, gifts, and works of Pope Saint Leo the Great. “Remember who is your head and of whose body you are a member. Never forget that you have been rescued from the power of darkness and brought into the light of the Kingdom of God.” ~from a sermon of Leo the Great

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